Half Century Trojans

Half Century Trojans Commencement Procession

Who are the Half Century Trojans (HCTs)? We’re a vibrant community of all USC alumni (including bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degree holders) who earned a bachelor’s degree from any college or university at least 50 years ago. As caretakers of USC history and tradition, HCTs are uniquely positioned to promote the Trojan Spirit and strengthen the bonds that connect USC alumni lifelong and worldwide.

Half Century Trojans Commencement Procession

The University of Southern California and the USC Alumni Association invite the Half Century Trojans to attend USC’s 140th Annual Commencement ceremony and march with fellow Half Century Trojans in the academic procession. We are so grateful to have dedicated alumni like yourselves who continue to stay involved with the University want to celebrate our newest members of the Trojan Family with you. It is a special experience to have everyone together for commencement and we hope you’ll join us for this annual tradition.

Included in the event will be a pre-commencement breakfast that you and a guest are welcome to attend. Space is limited, so sign up today! For more information and to register, click here.

Still Fighting On!

Photos from the 2022 Half Century Trojans Commencement Procession

2022 Half Century Trojans Hall of Fame Luncheon

2022 Half Century Trojans Hall of Fame Luncheon group photo

On Wednesday, October 26, 2022, the Alumni Association came together to recognize five remarkable Half Century Trojans who exemplify the ideals of the Trojan Family and who have had a significant impact on the fields of business, education, and medicine.

Still Fighting On!

Honoree Bios

Hall of Fame Awards

William Heeres

William A. Heeres PharmD ’63

William A. Heeres is a second-generation Trojan pharmacist who owned several pharmacies in Riverside, California. A longtime supporter of his alma mater, the USC School of Pharmacy, he currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of its Board of Councilors. In 1998, Heeres and his wife Josephine established “The Heeres Challenge” to fund the complete renovation of the school’s teaching facilities. Four years later in 2002, the couple committed a planned gift to establish the nation’s first endowed chair in community pharmacy. In 2013, the USC Pharmacy Alumni Association named Heeres Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, and in 2016, he received a USC Alumni Association Alumni Service Award.

Astrid Heppenstall Heger

Astrid Heppenstall Heger ’64, MS ’65, MD ’72

Astrid Heppenstall Heger is a triple USC alumna and a Keck School of Medicine of USC professor of clinical pediatrics. A powerful advocate for all people who struggle with poverty and violence, she founded the world’s first medically based child advocacy center, the Center for the Vulnerable Child (CVC), at LAC+USC Medical Center in 1984. Now known as the Violence Intervention Program (VIP), this multidisciplinary, public-private partnership helps a broad spectrum of clients—from children in foster care to the elderly to members of the LGBTQ+ community—who are experiencing abuse or neglect. Currently serving as VIP’s executive director, Heger received the U.S. Department of Justice Crime Victim Service Award in 1997. Her other honors include the 2014 Elie Weisel Humanism in Medicine Award.

Jim O’Toole

James O’Toole ’66

James O’Toole is a Professor Emeritus at the USC Marshall School of Business and the founding director of the Neely Center for Ethical Leadership. While at USC, he held the USC Associates’ chair of management, served as executive director of the Leadership Institute, was editor of New Management magazine and co-founded the Sample Fellows and Bennis Scholars programs. O’Toole has written 17 critically acclaimed books on leadership, ethics and corporate culture, with Publishers Weekly hailing his most recent book, The Enlightened Capitalists (2019), as “meticulous and captivating.” After graduating magna cum laude from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, O’Toole received a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University, where he earned his doctorate in social anthropology.

J. Scott Watt

J. Scott Watt ’68

J. Scott Watt is the chairman of the board of Watt Companies, one of the largest real estate developers, owners and managers on the West Coast. A USC Marshall School of Business alumnus, Watt joined the company in 1976 as senior vice president of forward planning. Thirty-three year later in 2009, he was named chairman. Passionate about ending homelessness, Watt created the Watt Family Innovation Fund for Urban Social Development to help increase housing affordability and access in Los Angeles. In addition, Watt is committed to giving back to his alma mater. He currently serves on the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Board of Councilors, and is a former member of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate Executive Committee and the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors, among others.

Distinguished Service Award

Hugh Helm

Hugh Helm ’62, JD ’69

Hugh Helm has been dedicating his time, talent and energy to USC for decades. A double alumnus with degrees from the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Gould School of Law, he was named president of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors in 1984—the same year he was elected to the USC Board of Trustees. After his tenure as a trustee ended in 1990, Helm began volunteering for a wide range of university organizations, most notably the Half Century Trojans (HCT). He served on the HCT Board of Directors from 2013 to 2021, during which time he chaired the HCT Scholarship Committee. In 2012, Helm and fellow HCT member Mary Memory co-chaired the Class of 1962 50th Reunion Committee.

Going Back to College Day

2023 Going Back to College Day

Half Century Trojans Going Back to College Day

Thank you for attending the 15th annual Half Century Trojans Going Back to College Day! We are so grateful to have dedicated alumni who came back to USC for the day. Not only did we hear from some amazing faculty during presentations on a wide range of topics. But, attendees also participated in the Annual Board meeting, received updates from USC Athletics officials on today’s promising student-athletes, and best of all, connected with fellow alumni without any tests or essays.

Still Fighting On!

2023 Premier Partners

Bank of America
Association Member Benefits & Insurance Agency
Liberty Mutual Insurance
USC Credit Union

The Half Century Trojan Scholarship Program

Half Century Trojan Scholarship Program recipients

A merit-based scholarship, the Half Century Trojans Endowed Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students who are direct descendants of Half Century Trojans. Your gift will help ensure that a USC education remains within reach for the children and grandchildren of alumni who want to make USC a family tradition. Currently 20 $10,000 scholarships are awarded annually.

Contact the USC Dornsife Office of Advancement by calling (213) 740-4990 or visit dornsife.usc.edu/giving to make a donation.


The scholarship is open to continuing undergraduate students who are direct descendants of Half Century Trojans. These scholarships can be renewed for the remainder of the recipient’s undergraduate career at USC, based on continued strong academic performance. Scholarship recipients must meet the academic standards adopted by the Half Century Trojans Board of Directors. Scholarship recipients may pursue any academic major in any USC school.

The Selection Process

Selected applicants are invited to interview with the Half Century Trojans Selection Committee. Applicants should provide evidence of academic achievement, leadership, participation in extracurricular activities, work experience and a commitment to community service.


Support for the Half Century Trojans Endowed Scholarship Fund can be provided in a variety of forms, including cash, appreciated securities, real estate or other assets. Contributions can also be made through wills, living trusts, charitable gift annuities, or any combination of these devices. Whatever its structure, each gift to the scholarship fund benefits talented students at USC.

To make a gift directly online, please see below Give Now button:

Give Now

If sending contribution via check, please complete and mail  this form  along with a check made out to the USC Half Century Trojan Scholarship, to the following address:

USC Half Century Trojans Scholarship Fund
Epstein Family Alumni Center
3607 Trousdale Parkway, TCC 305
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3106


The USCAA Half Century Trojans Scholarships began in Fall 1998 with an award of $2500 to one freshman student. Today we award $10,000 to each scholarship student per year. This year we have 22 undergraduate students each having a relative who graduated from USC at least 50 years ago.

Over the past 22 years HCT has been able to provide scholarship assistance to 113 very worthy students. The Scholarship program is funded by 7 trust funds plus yearly gifts from individuals.

The USC Half Century Trojans appreciate the leadership of dedicated members who have served as Scholarship Chair over the past 22 years. Departed Trojan Wes Rollo ’40 began the Scholarship program in 1998 with one student scholar and was able to increase the funding to support 3 scholarships when he retired in 2003. W. Terry Pearson ’53, MS ’63 assumed the chairmanship in 2003. He persuaded a friend, who already had a family trust fund with the University, to contribute $1.5 million to the HCT Scholarship fund. The Committee was then able to raise the annual scholarship award to $5000 and then to $10,000 per year. Sue Corwin Schaar ’56 assumed the chairmanship in 2012 and held it until Hugh Helm ’56, JD ’69 succeeded her in 2014. During Hugh’s tenure the Committee has raised the number of annual rewards to 20 students. This year Hugh is joined in the chairmanship with Sara Jane Philippi Bettge ’66. The Half Century Trojans are grateful for the dedicated service of the Scholarship Chairs and Committees.

Words of Appreciation

“I am midway through my junior year here at USC and I am studying International Relations and Legal Studies. I have grown up in a my own little Trojan family, my grandfather Albert graduated from USC with his MBA in the ’70s and my mother Kelly graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Business in the ’90s. I feel very blessed to have been chosen for the HCT Scholarship, and it has alleviated some of the financial burden on my family, allowing me to continue my education at my dream school. I am incredibly grateful to the HCT scholarship committee for this opportunity.”
—Madeline Kelley, Class of  2023 (Dornsife)

“Hi, I’m Blake. I am a second semester junior in the Marshall School of Business with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Cinematic Arts. This is my first year in person at USC and I am really enjoying it. I’m playing on the indoor and beach club volleyball teams and work with Traveler on the field during football games. I’ve also worked hard to make the Dean’s List, just like my grandfather and sister before me. I am incredibly humbled and grateful to have been selected as a Half-Century Trojan scholar. I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing university which has quickly become my second home. Thank you for making my dreams possible!”
—Blake Zingerman, Class of 2023 (Marshall)

“I am a junior majoring in Business Administration and pursuing an emphasis in Finance, and I am actively involved in the Marshall Real Estate Finance Association and my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. My half century Trojan connection is through my grandmother, Nancy Whelan, who graduated from USC in 1954. I am so grateful to be a Half Century Trojan Scholar, as it most definitely helps relieve some of the financial burdens of attending USC and allows me to further connect with USC alumni. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity, and Fight On!”
—Katie Scarborough, Class of  2023 (Marshall)

“I am a senior studying Computer Engineering and Computer Science. I come from a huge Trojan family – my grandfather, father, and many aunts, uncles and cousins studied at USC. It is such an honor to be an HCT Scholar, and I am so grateful for the support of this community. From working at Microsoft and Meta (Facebook), to working on incredible research projects and getting involved in a variety of clubs, I have had so many opportunities as an undergraduate at USC. This school is my home away from home, and I am so happy to be here!”
—Isabelle Lau, Class of  2023 (Viterbi)

“I am a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering. My HCT relative is my grandfather, who earned his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at USC in the ’60s. I am incredibly grateful for this scholarship, since it gives me the financial freedom to volunteer at a lab in the Department of Otolaryngology. This hands-on research experience is invaluable to me, and I am continually fascinated with the medical optics projects I get to work on.”
—Kate Sweetland, Class of  2024 (Viterbi)

“I am a sophomore from Pasadena, California, majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Law (Pre-Law) and minoring in Entrepreneurship. I am extremely thankful and honored to have received the Half Century Trojans Scholarship. This scholarship motivates me to continue making a difference and being a man for and with others. Thank you for your generosity and, rest assured, I will be pay it forward. Being the fifteenth person in my family to attend USC, the person who started it all is my grandfather John Aschieris, who graduated from USC in 1958. Thank you again for your generosity and recognition. Fight On!”
—Cicero Aschieris, Class of 2024 (Dornsife)

“I am a sophomore pursuing a dual degree in piano performance and mechanical engineering. I am so grateful for the flexibility to pursue two drastically different fields of study at an elite university. My Trojan connection is through my step-grandfather, who was a proud USC alumnus and graduated with a B.A. in 1956. I am incredibly appreciative of the HCT community for the financial support towards helping me focus on my educational and career goals, and as a scholarship recipient, I plan to give back in the future by contributing to the success of the next generation of Trojans.”
—Michael Groner, Class of 2024 (Thornton)

“I am a junior in Cinema and Media Studies at USC School of Cinematic Arts. My great grandfather, Jerome Lawrence Erlich, attended USC for both undergrad and law school in the 1930’s. I am incredibly grateful for the HCT scholarship because single-handedly it allowed me to pursue the most prestigious film education in the world and for my sister and I to carry on the Trojan tradition.”
—Hunter Cibula, Class of 2023 (SCA)




Jay Berger ’66, MS ’67, PhD ’71, President

Neil B. Martin ’64, JD ’67, President-Elect

Sally Jobgen Edwards ’65*, Past President

Diane Barkelew Wallace ’69, Recording Secretary

Diana Chipps Jones Geosano ’69, Corresponding Secretary


Don Garner ’66, Awards

Neil B. Martin ’64, JD ’67, Bylaws and Policy

Trish Foley Vick ’67, Events

Robert E. Lutz ’68, Global Outreach

Doug Yarrow ’68, Global Outreach

Bob Padgett ’67, History

Sally Jobgen Edwards ’65*, Nominations

Sara Jane Philippi Bettge ’66, MS ’67, Scholarship

Sue Bennett ’69, Scholarship

Diane Wallace ’69, Scholarship

Dan Orr ’71, Social Media/Communications

Committee Members

Seymour Canter ’55**
Dan Cassidy ’59**
Jim Childs ’61*
Sharon DeBriere ’55
Candy Duncan ’52
Janet Eddy ’53**
Jim Eddy ’52**
Millie Farnsworth ’46**
Miller Fong ’64
Robert Frinier ’63, MBA ’69*
Karen Hackett ’68
Ann Hill ’71, MA ’73
Gary Iseminger ’69
Tommy Kuenster ’57
Larry Londre ’71, MBA ’74
Laurie Love ’70, EDD ’93
Cinda Lucas ’70
Jim Maddux ’56**
Jim Manos ’54, MS ’59, PhD ’74
Mary Manos ’58
Terry Pearson ’53, MS ’63**
Patti Poon ’65
Lorna Reed ’58**
Al Shonk ’54**
Derald Sidler ’67
Sheila Smith ’70
Alli Solum ’59*
Abe Somer ’57, JD ’62**
Charla Tindall ’67
Janet Tonkovich ’64*
Candy Yee ’68, MS ’69

* Past Presidents
** Presidents Emeriti
(Former Half Century Trojan presidents who faithfully served our alumni group for more than five years after their presidential tenure).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get involved?

There is no formal registration process to become a Half Century Trojan. All USC-degreed alumni automatically become Half Century Trojans once they reach the 50-year anniversary of receiving their undergraduate degree. For more information on becoming involved with Half Century Trojans, please contact the USC Alumni Association at (213) 740-2300 or e-mail.

Can I contribute to Scholarships?

Half Century Trojans strengthen the university’s legacy by sponsoring the Half Century Trojans Scholarship Program, which annually confers scholarships of $10,000 each to a number of direct descendants of Half Century Trojans. The scholarships, open only to continuing USC students, are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership potential and community service. For more information, please contact the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at (213) 740-5930 or visit the scholarship information page.